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rpmdiag, Tech and Instructor
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 7892
Experience:  Since 1975
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My '98 Accord LX sedan is suddenly shutting off (immobilizer

Customer Question

My '98 Accord LX sedan is suddenly shutting off (immobilizer light flashes) while driving. Car has 88K, but I've only owned it for 500 miles. Lately, the immobilizer light intermittently flashes when I try to start it fresh. Insofar as I know, I am using an original key (no lock/unlock buttons, simple Honda key).
JA: Just to clarify, can you tell me which light it is? And does it blink first, then stay on steady?
Customer: It is the green 'Key' indicator that flashes and then turns off...
JA: Are you fixing your Accord yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I was using an aftermarket key (unsure if it came from a dealer). I switched to using the "Honda" key, but the engine shut down in the middle of a 30mph corner...power steering cut out, but I was able to recover in time.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: 5spd manual, few miles, otherwise no improvements (standard Accord LX)...
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

Hi, I'm Ron and I will be helping you today.
Stand by for a moment while I prepare your answer.

Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

The problem can be a loss of spark or fuel. You can check for spark at the plugs with a spark tester.
You can check fuel pressure with a gauge and both of these tools should be available to you at your
local parts store for rent or purchase.
You need to check for any stored codes in the computer with a code reader or a scan tool.
The code reader only gives the codes and definitions, where the scan tool gives you all
the needed data to diagnose the codes.

Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

Also try this re-learn procedure for the security system. If it doesn't work, a scan tool will be needed to diagnose it.'thanks again, Ron

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Operationally, I'm not sure the fuel and/or spark is an issue. The previous owner replaced the plugs and wires within the last 6 months. I'm guessing the plugs were gapped correctly. While the check engine light is on, it is believed to be caused by an exhaust leak from a hairline crack in the downpipe. I'm wondering if the key (original) I'm using, particularly the aftermarket spare (unsure where it was made) are triggering an intermittent loss of communication. The original key is simply the Honda branded key itself with the key head wrapped in typical black plastic. I guess there's a chip in there somewhere.
Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

The scan we need to do will identify everything we need to know as far as communications are concerned.

Also try that re-learn procedure too.

Thanks again and please remember to rate me 5 stars and keep this link in case you need me again later on.


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I forgot to say thank you. Sorry. When the engine is cold (mornings), the green key sometimes flashes (once or twice a week?) not permitting the car to start. It turns over and all, but will not start until the flashing stops. Disturbingly, the engine then shuts down (green key flashing) even after being driven for 20-30 miles. Obviously, I don't wish to have an accident, but the loss of power steering makes reacting on the fly somewhat exciting, if for all the wrong reasons.
Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

You're welcome.

You may also want to consider letting your shop attach a dat logger to your computer connector.

This will record everything the car does, and when it does act up, just bring the car back to the shop and they will take off the recorder and read all that it has done wrong. Now you can go right to the problem.

Thanks again,


Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

You're almost done, all you have left to do is rate me 5 stars for my time. Your card has already been charged and I'm still available to help you after you rate me too.

Thanks again, Ron

Expert:  rpmdiag replied 11 months ago.

Hi, I'm just following up with you to see if you have any more questions.
Thanks, Ron